The peacock bass looks like largemouth bass. Its color will vary according to its species, but it is generally a vibrant and colorful fish. The fish has three vertical bars on its olive-green back that fade with advancing age and a yellow halo around a black spot on its caudal fin.

Peacock bass (or Brazilian tucunaré) (Cichla) is a genus of large cichlids, diurnal, and predatory freshwater fish native to the Amazon and Orinoco basins, as well as rivers of the Guianas, in tropical South America.
The largest species in the genus, the speckled peacock bass (C. temensis), reaches up to 13 kg (29 lb) in weight and 1 m (3.3 ft) in length, possibly making it the largest species of cichlid (others suggest that prize goes to the African giant cichlid, Boulengerochromis microlepis). Other peacock bass species are smaller. They are sometimes kept in aquariums, but even the smaller species require a huge tank.

Peacock Basses are becoming much more available in the aquarium trade, small and cute at 4-5cm in length. They have a colorful and attractive livery, but due to their large size, Peacock Basses are only recommended for experienced fish breeders who can house them adequately for their entire lifespan. That said, they are a hardy and hardy species, adapting to a variety of conditions. They entice superficial people to buy them without first inquiring about their needs and requirements and who will almost certainly not be able to care for them in the long term.

Type of Peacock bass

Cichla cataractae

Cichla cataractae
Cichla cataractae

A new peacock bass species, Cichla cataractae, is distinguished from all congeners by molecular evidence and unique patterns of adult and juvenile pigmentation. Cichla cataractae is endemic to the Essequibo Basin, where it typically inhabits rocky shoals in river channels with the swift current.

Cichla intermedia

Cichla intermedia, the royal peacock bass, is a large cichlid species found in the Orinoco River basin in Venezuela and Colombia. It is easily identified from other peacock bass species, as it is the only one that presents a series of 8 to 9 spots running through their lateral line.

Cichla intermedia, the royal peacock bass
Cichla intermedia, the royal peacock bass

Cichla ocellaris

Cichla ocellaris, sometimes known as the butterfly peacock bass, is a gigantic cichlid species from South America and a prized game fish. It reaches 74 cm (29 in) in length.
Body and fin colors range from yellows, greens, and light red to orange. While color is highly variable, the most prominent physical characteristics are the three vertical black lines along the sides of the body.

Cichla ocellaris
Cichla ocellaris
Cichla ocellaris

Cichla orinocensis

Cichla orinocensis, sometimes known as the Orinoco peacock bass, reaches about 62 cm (2 ft) in standard length. Adults are easily recognized by the three large gold-edged dark spots on the side of their body (a fourth spot on the tail) and lack of dark markings on the operculum.

Orinoco peacock bass
Orinoco peacock bass

Cichla temensis

Cichla temensis, the speckled pavon, speckled peacock bass, painted pavon, or three-barred peacock bass, can reach up to 1 m (3.3 ft) in length and 13 kg (29 lb) in weight, it is the largest cichlid of the Americas, and perhaps the largest extant cichlid in the world. C. temensis resembles other peacock bass species but is generally more elongated and slender in shape.

Cichla melaniae

cichla melaniae
cichla melaniae

Peacock bass In Aquarium

Common Names: Peacock bass
Origin / Habitat: Amazon, South America.
Care Level: Expert
Adult Size: 1 m (3.3 ft) in length,  up to 13 kg (29 lb) in weight
Adult Size in fish tanks: 68 – 74 cm (26.77 – 29.13 inch)
Lifespan: 8-10 years, 15 years in wild
Tank Size: only suitable for public aquariums, or really large tanks.
Water Parameters: the pH of 6.4 – 7.5
Water Hardness:  36 – 268 ppm
Temperature: Between 77°F-82 °F or 24-27 °C
Feeding: Piscivores: meaty foods such as shrimp, mussels, whitebait, and other small fish.
Compatibility: aggressive to smaller
Own species temperament: peaceful

The Peacock Bass will eventually outgrow a home aquarium. They are a very active species, so do not overcrowd the aquarium with excess ornaments. They require a lot of space to swim and are moderately aggressive and territorial. The minimum size for an adult specimen should be at least an aquarium that is ten feet long, and make sure that it has a width that allows the Peacock bass space to turn without difficulty. For Adult size, it would take a minimum tank of 3m x 1m x2m; for the youngest specimens, a smaller tank may suffice, but you should never buy fish if you are not sure you can house them for their entire life.
Like all larger fish species, They require excellent filtration with regular water changes as they are high waste producers. It is better if frequent water changes weekly.
The Peacock bass is not considered as being overly aggressive. They will see smaller fish as food—piscivores in nature. The diet should consist of meaty foods such as shrimp, mussels, whitebait, and other small fish.

  • Species that become large: 75 cm in length, for several kilos of weight
  • Piscivorous predator species
  • Species reproduced in captivity, even if there are on the market specimens coming from the capture in the wild. Always ask the shopkeeper if the fish you are about to catch are caught or farmed.

The dietary needs of peacock bass

Peacock bass are aggressive, carnivorous fish with a voracious appetite, primarily preferring a diet of smaller fish, insects, and crustaceans in the wild. In aquariums, a similar diet can be maintained, featuring live or frozen feeder fish, shrimp, and occasionally insects. They should be fed daily, but the amount should be regulated to avoid overfeeding and obesity. These fish require high protein for growth and health, so ensure their diet fulfills this need. Juveniles should be fed more frequently—about 2-3 times per day—while adults can be fed once a day. Always strive for variety to meet their diverse nutritional requirements.

Peacock Bass Tank Mates

Peacock Bass are large, aggressive fish, making it crucial to select compatible tank mates. Other large South American cichlids, like Oscars or Jack Dempseys, can usually cohabitate peacefully. Larger catfish such as Plecostomus can also be good choices due to their hardy nature and bottom-dwelling habits. The peacock bass is a voracious predator that eats anything that will fit into its mouth. As such, you should be careful when picking the tank mates for your fish. Keep in mind, any fish small enough to fit into a Peacock Bass’s mouth could become a meal.

In terms of numbers, ensure your tank has ample space to prevent territorial disputes. An overcrowded tank can lead to stress, disease, and increased aggression. Always monitor closely after introducing new fish to ensure compatibility.

The following are a few options that will make good tank mates for the peacock bass:
– The Redtail Catfish Catfish
– Freshwater Stingrays
Paroon shark
Siamese tigerfish

Peacock bass with tank mates

Here are some additional tips for keeping peacock bass with tank mates:

  • Choose tank mates that are similar in size to the peacock bass.
  • Provide plenty of hiding places for all of the fish in the tank.
  • Do not overstock the tank.
  • Feed the fish a high-quality diet.
  • Monitor the fish closely for signs of aggression.

Health and Diseases of Peacock Bass in Aquariums

Peacock Bass, like any other aquatic species, are susceptible to several health issues and diseases. Here are a few common ones:

  1. Ichthyophthirius Multifiliis (Ich): This is a common disease in many fish species, characterized by white spots on the body, fins, and gills. It’s typically caused by poor water quality or stress.
  2. Fin and Tail Rot: This bacterial disease causes the fins and tail to appear ragged and discolored. It often results from poor water conditions or physical damage.
  3. Bacterial Infections: Symptoms include ulcers, sores, or red streaks on the body. Bacterial infections often occur when the fish’s immune system is compromised.
  4. Parasitic Infections: These can manifest in a number of ways, such as weight loss, lethargy, or changes in eating habits.
  5. Obesity: Peacock Bass are voracious eaters and can easily become overweight if overfed. This can lead to various health problems, such as liver disease.

Maintaining optimal water conditions, feeding a balanced diet, and regularly monitoring your fish can help prevent these issues. If your Peacock Bass do get sick, it’s important to isolate them and seek advice from a vet or experienced aquarist.

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By fishexp